Written in 1984, White Biting Dog is a psychologically complex modern day classic. Canadian Playwright Judith Thompson cunningly reels us into a world of social travesty and irreconcilable emptiness. Based on the comments we heard behind us from certain ladies of a certain age, I don’t think this show is appropriate for sensitive audiences. Continue reading Review: White Biting Dog (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
I must confess I was woefully ignorant about the civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002 and the exploitation of child soldiers during the conflict prior to seeing Nkkami.
Continue reading Nkkami (Soothemysisters Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review
The Particulars and in General opened with a pipe organ recording of the hymn “God Who Fills All Life with Goodness”, often sung during morning prayers at my Anglican high school. It closed with a recording of Pygmy yodeling. The play is comprised of two monologues back-to-back, telling the stories of lives weaving around one another but never connecting.
At first, the second monologue appeared a total non sequitur to the first. The connection was soon revealed however, to quite humorous effect.
Continue reading The Particulars and in General (Pyretic Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review
Stitch is a one woman show about an oxy-addicted, single-mom porn-star with a mysterious, nagging and worsening vaginal infection of some kind. Throughout the play the infection – which she dubs Itchya – speaks to her; inciting self-hatred and convincing her to make foolish decisions.
Cara Gee as Kylie Grandview does a credible and professional job with the script she was given. There was no set, limited props and one fairly basic costume used during the entire performance. Minimalism was an effective choice for this production. Continue reading Stitch (Dependent Theatre Projects) 2011 SummerWorks Review
The truth of the matter is I had a hard time focusing during Gravestone Posse. My mind went on a walk-about, straying to supper decisions and weekend diversions.
Perhaps this has more to do with the format of the work than the substance. This is not a play, but rather a radio faux-drama that was recorded live for future broadcast. The performers wore costumes appropriate to their caricaturized roles but the script was read into microphones. Continue reading Gravestone Posse (The Canadian Space Opera Company) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
The thing I enjoyed the most about Remember, Maggie? is that extraordinary mother-son writing duo Carol Anne and Matt Murray did not feel obliged to tie off all the loose ends at the show’s conclusion.
Remember, Maggie? was a lot like real relationships: painful, funny, unresolved, disquieting and beautiful. In this performance, a sister learns that loving someone does not make them a good person, and that a blood connection does not a sister make. Continue reading Remember, Maggy? (Maggy Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
A recently widowed Bubby and a mystical young man meet ostensibly by chance in a tulip garden. His mysterious connection to the flowers helps to ease her grief and their instantaneous connection eases her weariness with the onerous imposition of familial obligations at the shiva.
Continue reading Through the Tulips (Branch Out Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
Grandma Word (Diane L. Johnstone) greets you at the door with cookies and a dish of gossip. I am inclined to give any production that begins by feeding me cookies a warm reception (I really love cookies).
I have to confess though, one-handers have always been a tough sell for me. There are notable exceptions of course (d’bi.young’s Dora award winning performance comes to mind) but in general, I think holding an audience’s attention all by your lonesome for an hour is an ambitious undertaking.
Continue reading Desperate Church Wives (Under the Blood Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
What is the difference between love and attachment? I’m sure neither Mona (Sarah Tilley) nor Rita (Ruth Lawrence) would purport to be able to answer that old chestnut, but they certainly take you through a very visceral, relatable emotional journey while contemplating the question.
In MonaRita two women, beset by various social and emotional pitfalls, learn to lean on each other in way that eludes the concept of boundaries. The crayon-bedecked flyers distributed at the end of the show announce that the show is particularly suited to moms. I would say that it is less well suited to those considering becoming moms.
Continue reading MonaRita (White Rooster Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review
The first thing you need to know about I Spy is that the show is happening outdoors, on the courtyard beside Central Tech High School, NOT anywhere inside Central Tech. If you ask anyone within Central Tech where the show might be located, you will likely find yourself explaining the concept of the Fringe Festival to a bemused high school student.
Location is key with this production since the site was chosen before the cast; and before the show was “written” actually. Perhaps “crystalized” would be a more appropriate word.
Continue reading I Spy (Urban Jungle Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review